Tom Everett Scott returns on 'Southland'

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:36 AM ET

If you're a fan of the TV series Southland, the last time you saw Tom Everett Scott, his character LAPD Det. Russell Clarke was getting shot in the chest at a domestic dispute in a shocking season finale.

And if you catch his directorial debut Glock at the Worldwide Short Film Festival, your first sight of him will be his CIA-type agent character being tortured.

That's a lot of action, considering he started last year with boredom as his inspiration.

Glock, co-starring Stephen Root, Ciaran Hinds and Krysten Ritter, is about a newly minted agent who spends his first weeks on the job just waiting for the phone to ring.

"I started writing the torture scene and started writing the induction of this character to his spy organization and then decided it was going be about a guy waiting for the phone to ring -- and I didn't know why," says Scott, whose film is screening as part of a program of newbie directors' "Celebrity Shorts."

"Ultimately, I wondered why I was writing it and realized I had been waiting by the phone a lot, and was probably subconsciously trying to write about my own frustration of waiting for the phone to ring for a job," says Scott, who launched his career as the star and young doppelganger of Tom Hanks' own directorial debut That Thing You Do.

A period of free time inspired Scott to finally act on a lifelong desire. "I've always wanted to write something and direct it, whether a play or movie or whatever. But I just never had the balls to get past page one without ripping it up and throwing it away. Finally, I was able to get something done -- 12 pages of a short film and the next question was shooting it."

He lined up a friend, Michael MacMillan as a co-writer. "Stephen Root is a friend. And Ciaran Hinds, I was working with on Race to Witch Mountain when I asked him to take part. He's just the most delightful human being, and I risked any friendship we were developing by imposing on him.

"I did pay my crew because I didn't know them. I brought in a producer who is a friend of a friend, and she said 'You've got to pay some people to lift the heavy things.' "

Then he landed a role in NBC's critically well-received new series Southland, and the formerly underemployed actor found himself doing double duty.

"We did the Southland pilot in September and October, and I was doing post-production on Glock at the same time -- kind of running back and forth between Southland and Technicolor Sound and Picture. And this year Southland wrapped, and the day later I flew to New York for the Tribeca film festival with Glock."

As for his state of health on the show, he has good news. "I looked at the script and thought 'Okay, who did I piss off?' " quips Scott. "But they were really nice about saying 'Hey, you don't die.' And I was like, 'Oh, good.' But I haven't seen the script yet so I can't say that it's official."

"I'm glad to be coming back, I'm in a good place right now, being at home, working in L.A. and being with my family. I liked from the beginning how it was an ensemble show, and each character really had their own voice.

"And the violence, when it happens, you don't see it coming." Clarke's shooting, he says, "was based on something that really happened to a cop. He works this dangerous job and he's off-duty and goes next door to see if everyone's okay during a domestic. The guy opens the door with a gun in his hand and is in a crazy emotional state and shoots the cop. Life is strange."


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